The fifth and final day of our “Colour in the Landscape” course at Red Deer College. As they always seem to do when one is having fun, this week flew by. Check out time from the campus residences is noon and since we weren’t going to be on campus all day, I packed up my stuff from my room and turned in my key before heading to class for our usual critique and debriefing.
This day we would again be out “in the field” painting. Again I would discover a hidden gem of a location and this one was within Red Deer and but a 5 minute drive from campus. We headed out to Heritage Ranch, which is right off the Queen Elizabeth II highway, next to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.This site featured a ranch a restaurant and most importantly for us access to some great landscapes. Red Deer may be on the prairies but there is a magnificent, deep and wooded river valley accessible from this location. Taking a long, steep set of stairs down to the edge of the Red Deer River gave us this scene.
I climbed back up those stairs and set off north along the bike path that lead to a variety of picturesque scenes through the woods and along the low flats
I was quite pleased to discover this peaceful lake down in the park:
I sat down on a rock beside the lake and got out my oil pastels to do a reference sketch. The only drawback to this was that the sun was pretty hot that afternoon, making the oil pastels pretty soft. At many places the trail wound through heavily treed forest – a motif that frequently attracts my attention.
Back up at the top of the bank, behind the restaurant I found a number of my classmates painting, with instructor Dave More nearby to offer help.
Around 3 pm I wrapped up my sketching and photography activities and headed back to Red Deer College to pack up all of my supplies from the studio. It took over half an hour to clean up and get my gear into my vehicle. This is always a sad time after a good and intense week. Once I was loaded up I started my way up highway 2 towards Edmonton but not before stopping back off at the Heritage Ranch to say goodbye to those of the group who were still there working.
As September 2011 arrived in Edmonton the landscape began a slow color transformation towards autumn hues. As I walked through the river valley with my camera, I captured some of these colors. In this series I have used camera motion to blur the distracting details and emphasize the colors as well as general forms and directions of structure or motion.
On Day 4 of our Series “Colour in the Landscape” course we again started our day by meeting in the classroom for a critique. By mid-morning we were off to a park within the City of Red Deer to do our painting (or in my case, again capturing photos for later studio painting). Many in the class were still anxiously looking forward to painting the iconic, bright yellow canola fields. From our base at Red Deer’s RiverBend Park we were able to find canola fields and much more.
At the name of the park would suggest this area is by a river, enclosed by a large loop in the river. The area has a golf course, a naturalized water park, lots of wooded areas and abundant vista including the river and surrounding farmlands. There was so much of interest I didn’t know where to start so I walked around with my camera (again). I got lots of ideas and references for paintings but never did pull out my paints or sketch book in my few hours there.
After a few hours wandering around down in the valley I headed back up to the plain on my way back to the studio at Red Deer College. There I found some great vistas of rolling prairie with bright yellow canola fields. A couple of our class members were set up next to the road paintings these awesomely colorful scenes.
Back at the studio my mid-afternoon, I continued work for a couple of hours on the canvases that I’d started earlier.
That evening featured a much-looked-forward-to event that happens every Thursday evening during the Series program – the show of student works from the week. All of the classes (something like 10 of them) have a display of what has been accomplished in just 4 days. It is awesome!
After the evening’s events it was back to the studio for another hour or two for me. Not too many people took advantage of the evening availability of the studio but as I had spent so much of my daytime with the camera I was very grateful to have the opportunity.